Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
As they make ready to enter the studio to record the follow-up to their 2012 Misery Wizardfull-length debut, Rhode Island doom upstarts Pilgrim have announced that they’ll join Windhand on a Fall 2013 European run. The two bands are no strangers, having done US dates together last year, and of course, Pilgrim played at Roadburn in 2013 as well, so this will be their second time on the continent this year. Still, good news all around for the band and for anyone who might find themselves in their destructive path.
Sayeth the PR wire:
PILGRIM coming back to Europe in November to support WINDHAND for a full tour!
Ready to enter studio next month!
Rhode Island Doom disciples PILGRIM have made an astonishing impact with the release of their debut album Misery Wizard and their European shows including a slot at this years Roadburn festival.
PILGRIM will return to Europe in November for a full tour with Windhand. Comments vocalist/guitarist The Wizard: “THIS IS GOING TO BE A TOUR WORTHY OF SONG AND LEGEND. Not only is it our first lengthy European venture, but we get to share it with our incredibly talented friends WINDHAND (whose music we worship). This is honestly a dream come true for us. We are will be featuring a new bass player for the excursion, whose identity shall remain a mystery for the moment. Unfortunately, we had planned to be supporting the release of our new record this tour, but due to various complications with our studio we were not able to meet our deadline. However, we just confirmed today that the recording of our second record will begin next month at Moonlight Mile Studios! And with that, so begins the next chapter of our pilgrimage. We have worked UNFATHOMABLY hard to make this tour come together. Blood, sweat, and tears. DO NOT MISS THIS TOUR!”
+ PILGRIM 01/11/13 BE – Ghent – Charlatan 02/11/13 NL – Venlo – Mudfest 03/11/13 FR – Paris – t.b.a. 04/11/13 UK – Birmingham – Asylum 05/11/13 UK – Manchester – Star & Garter 06/11/13 UK – London – Our Black Heart 08/11/13 ES – Barcelona – Rocksound 09/11/13 ES – Madrid – Rock & Pop 10/11/13 ES – Bilbao – Sentinel Rock Bar 11/11/13 FR – Clermont Ferrand – t.b.a. 12/11/13 FR – Strasbourg – t.b.a. 14/11/13 NL – Groningen – t.b.a. 15/11/13 DK – Aalborg – 1000 Fryd 16/11/13 SE – Gothenburg – Truckstop Alaska 17/11/13 DK – Copenhagen – KB18 18/11/13 DE – Hamburg – Rote Flora 19/11/13 DE – Berlin – Cassiopeia 20/11/13 DE – Leipzig – Zoro 21/11/13 AT – Wien – Vrena 22/11/13 DE – Günzburg – Donaustüble 23/11/13 DE – Köln – MTC 24/11/13 NL – Amsterdam – Occii
Posted in audiObelisk on June 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
A couple things you’ll want to note as you make your way through the latest batch of audio streams from Roadburn 2013. First, the Satan’s Satyrs set is a Blue Cheer tribute, and that’s frickin’ awesome, and second, I’m pretty sure that Pilgrim photo below (from the same set as the one above) is one of mine. So, you know, it’s nice to be included.
Thanks as always to Walter and the Roadburn crew for letting me host these streams, and to Marcel van de Vondervoort for continuing to boldly helm the recordings year after year. Posterity owes you a gratitude.
The Pretty Things – Live at Roadburn 2013
Goat – Live at Roadburn 2013
Amenra – Live at Roadburn 2013
Cough – Live at Roadburn 2013
The Atlas Moth – Live at Roadburn 2013
My Brother The Wind – Live at Roadburn 2013
Satan’s Satyrs Tribute To Blue Cheer – Live at Roadburn 2013
Posted in Features on April 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
04.19.13 — 00.17 — Friday morning — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg
I was early to the Green Room, which is the middle-sized space at the 013. The first band on for Roadburn 2013 would be Black Bombaim, and if you’ve been here before, you know the crowds are serious and that if you’re not careful, you can wind up watching an act through an open doorway — which also happened to me more than once throughout the course of the evening. Plenty on time to see Black Bombaim, though, and no regrets for taking the head-first dive into jamming European heavy psychedelia, instrumental meandering to the cosmos. Man, all of a sudden it was a hell of an afternoon.
They were, as was somewhat expected, blissed right out, all-natural, all-jam, immediate swirl. The day had other starts on other stages, but for me, this was what it was about. I was stocked to watch them after digging last year’s Titansand 2010′s Saturdays and Space Travels(review here), and Tojo‘s bass tone served as an immediate reminder of why I can’t get enough of this kind of thing. Warm, grooving and perfectly suited to the band’s extended wandering progressions, I couldn’t have asked for more than I got as a way to kick off this year’s Roadburn. Watching guitarist Ricardo signal changes to drummer Senra, the whole thing had a very organic, very spontaneous vibe, and that’s just what you want. The first song was a little rough, but after that, they settled into a solid groove and stayed there.
Today was a fair amount of running around — less than some, more than others. Pallbearer were on the Main Stage shortly, and after the heavy dose of salivating they got in the US last time I saw them in New York with Enslaved (whose own Grutle Kjellson was kicking around here at some point today, seemingly just to hang out and why not?), I was curious to see how the Euro crowd would respond. Answer: Much the same. I knew what to expect in terms of performance, as it wasn’t that long since I last saw the band, but they still didn’t disappoint, and thinking about it in hindsight after seeing them on this stage, which is sizable to say the least, they were cramped at Bowery Ballroom. Tonally and in terms of presence, they more than held their own as a main stage act, which for only having one record out is all the more exciting.
Most of what they played I recognized from that record, early 2012′s Sorrow and Extinction(review here), and seeing them again, it was easier to get a sense of the four-piece’s live dynamic, Brett Campbell holding down the drama on guitar and vocals while bassist Joseph D. Rowland and guitarist Devin Holt bang their heads like they’re trying to get them to come off on the other side of the stage, and behind, drummer Mark Lierly steadily holding songs together and adapting fluidly to what would otherwise be stark tempo changes. The contrast of Rowland and Holt to Campbell is striking, but it makes Pallbearer a richer experience to watch. They’ve certainly had no shortage of hype around them since cropping up, but whatever else you might say about them and however loudly or emphatically you might say it, they’re well on their way to becoming a really great live act. Hopefully they continue to tour and carve out their sound and chemistry on the road.
Now, at every Roadburn, you’re going to see some things that you’ve never seen before and you’ll probably never see again. And even the stuff you have seen before — like tonight’s headliners, Primordial, for example, who came though NYC years back on the first Paganfest — is special here. Bands play better, play different material, and for an American coming over, it’s a chance to see European acts who probably aren’t going to be touring the States anytime soon. I say this so you understand why I left Pallbearer to go back and watch more of Black Bombaim. Since there’s so much going on at every fest, sometimes you have to make hard choices, and I almost always try to lean toward that which I’m less likely to run into later on or that which I’ve never seen before.
However, the Green Room was full to capacity and then some, so I wound up standing in the hallway in a cluster of people to watch for a couple minutes and then hit up the merch area across the way. I’d figured on picking up some discs and was pleased to find a host of Nasoni stuff again at the Exile on Mainstream table, including Johnson Noise and Vibravoid, as well as Burning World Records discs from The Angelic Process and Slomatics. Later on, I’d roll back through and grab more CDs from Svart and finally get a copy of The Midnight Ghost Train‘s Buffalo(review here) on CD. It wasn’t long though before I had to be back at the Main Stage for the start of Penance. Vocalist Lee Smith prefaced their set by saying it was the first time they’d played together since 1993, which math tells me was 20 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Butch Balich-era Penance a lot. I thought Spiritualnatural was a killer record and Proving Groundstill kicks my ass on occasion, but 1994′s Parallel Corners, with the lineup of Smith on vocals, guitarist Terry Weston, bassist Rich Freund and drummer Mike Smail has to be their high-point. The Pittsburgh natives resided at exactly the juncture where doom becomes metal, and with a riffy looseness and ultra-straightforward Sabbath-loving ethic, cuts like “Crosses” and “Words Not Deeds” brought out more than a fair share of righteous grooves. Both of those were standouts of their set — “Crosses” I took as a personal favor though I’m sure it wasn’t one — though long breaks between songs and surprisingly quiet banter from Smith seemed to undercut the momentum their riffs were building when they were actually playing, so it was hard for them to get on a roll.
No-frills trad doom, Penance nonetheless got their point across in beefy riffs utterly lacking in pretense. I checked in on Blues Pills in the Green Room from the hallway, and they seemed to be holding it down with no trouble, so I wandered back into the Main Stage area in time to catch “Words Not Deeds” round out the Penance set. From there, it was back to the Green Room to catch Pilgrim, who started early following a guitar and bass classic rocking-type jam during the setup that I’d be interested to hear them take elements from for their next album, which reportedly is in the works. They played new material and cuts from 2012′s Misery Wizarddebut like the immediately recognizable lumber of opener “Astaroth,” and not at all surprisingly, had the Green Room packed out the door. I don’t know if the Rhode Island trio are friends with the dudes in Pallbearer or what, but that’s a tour that should probably happen at some point. I’ve seen Pilgrim four times now since they put out that album, and they’ve only gotten stronger as a live act.
Though, to be fair, they did seem a little amped up at the start of their set, but the muscle memory kicked in before they were through the first song — you could actually see it — and they were locked in thereafter. I took pictures and then started to make my way through the crowd to watch from the back, and before I knew it, had kind of a, “Well shit, now what?” moment when the only place to be was outside the room. The answer to that question was “dinner.” I started to head out and get something to eat on the quick when I saw Gravetemple were just getting ready to hit the Main Stage for their start. With a lineup of a pedigree like that of Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi and Attila Csihar, popping my head in seemed like the least I could do on my way by. Csihar stood in front of a table of who knows what kind of manipulation devices, while O’Malley and Ambarchi came in soon enough on drone guitar. It was super-artsy in that particularly O’Malley kind of way, a different take on some of SunnO)))‘s atmospheres with Csihar‘s vocals providing a distinguishing element along the way. I dug it, but time was a factor, so I moved on to get a bite to eat.
Wound up with some salad, fish and plain pasta which I mixed in with the greens and the dill dressing. It was the first thing I’ve really eaten since I got on the plane that wasn’t a protein bar, and — here’s something that’s not at all shocking — I felt much better afterwards. My brain was like, “Dude, you’re the worst at life. You probably should’ve had a meal yesterday, jerk,” and I tried to argue back but there’s really no talking to that guy, so whatever. The salad was glorious in context for being just an ordinary salad, and though I got a piece of clam stuck in my tooth, the mixed fish was most welcome too. Nothing like actual protein drawing a direct comparison to the would be substitutes for it. By the time I was done, I felt like someone had just given me a piece of particleboard with macaroni glued onto it in the shape of the cover to Volume 4, and by that I mean ready to take on the world. This was fortunate, because High on Fire were getting ready to go on the Main Stage and play The Art of Self Defensefront to back.
Or maybe they weren’t getting ready. They kind of took their time coming out from the back, but with a backdrop behind them modified from the album’s original cover from its 2000 release on Man’s Ruin, High on Fire stormed — what else would they do, really? — through the riffy sludge of their first record in a manner befitting its grooving bombast. “10,000 Years” and “Blood from Zion” still feature in their set on the regular (they were aired when I saw the band in Philly late last year), but to get a song like “Fireface” out and have bassist Jeff Matz start off its viscous slog, it was a treat the three-piece seemed to enjoy as well, guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike cutting smiles every now and again between solos and the galloping riffs that started it all for the band. Tucked away in the back, drummer Des Kensel punctuated the stomp of “Last” and “Master of Fists” made for a suitably riotous finish, deconstructing at the end to leads and noise.
But they weren’t done. The bonus tracks from the 2001 Tee Pee Records reissue were also included, including the punkish rush of “Steel Shoe” and the Celtic Frost cover “The Usurper,” which Pike called the encore before they started. The room was the most packed out I’d see it the whole day, and it was the first complete set I watched. Elsewhere, other bands were playing, other special gigs taking place, but how could I not watch High on Fire do The Art of SelfDefense? In reception, the crowd was unanimous in fervent approval — heads banged, fists pumped, madmen shouted along to Pike‘s long-heralded battle cries — and particularly as the last High on Fire studio outing, De Vermis Mysteriis(review here) was so crisp and tight, it was striking to hear them take on the earlier material. Almost like they were letting their hair down a bit, though as anyone who heard that record can tell you, they’ve hardly lost their edge in the decade-plus since the first record came out.
Rounding out with “The Usurper,” High on Fire still finished early, a good 15 minutes before their scheduled end. I guess there’s only so much album to play. Fair enough. I took notes in my fancypants license place notebook and went back to the merch to pick up some more of the aforementioned odds and ends, and then headed back to the big room in plenty of time for the start of Primordial, who if nothing else were the most thoroughly fronted act I’ve seen so far. The Irish double-guitar five-piece were helmed by vocalist Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill, who came out with a bottle of Jameson and a bottle of wine and was through the better part of both by the time their 90 minutes were done, and from his stage makeup — that’s not to say corpsepaint, because it wasn’t really corpsepaint — and costuming to his intense on-stage persona, Averill positively owned the 013. I saw Primordial years back when they came through New York on the PaganFest tour (it was a lot of glockenspiels to get to a Primordial set, but worth it), so I knew just how much of a factor the performance element was, but like many before him, the singer stepped up his game to match the occasion, and in a space so large, it was an impressive feat of showmanship.
He also noted more than once from the stage that it was the band’s first time playing Roadburn, and made it clear he felt they were overdue in this — provocateur, I suppose, could be part of the role, but either way — and I wondered if perhaps he was putting in a bid for curator next year. That would assure Pilgrim a return slot (Averill released Pilgrim‘s Misery Wizard via his Poison Tongue imprint through Metal Blade Records), and I wouldn’t mind seeing them take on 2007′s To the Nameless Deadin its entirety, were it in the offing. His other band, the nascent and doomier Dread Sovereign, also play tomorrow, so there’s room to work with, I guess. In the meantime, this set touched on To the Nameless Deadand several others in Primordial‘s seven-album discography, beginning with “No Grave Deep Enough” from 2011′s Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand (review here) and spanning genres as much as full-lengths, running from post-black metal to Celtic-inspired progressions and keeping at times a doomly edge, particularly on newer material like “The Mouth of Judas” or “Cities Carved in Stone,” which closed 2005′s The Gathering Wilderness.
That LP’s title-track and “The Coffin Ships” also featured, the latter penultimate to To the Nameless Deadopener “Empire Falls,” with which they closed. In introducing “The Coffin Ships,” Averill mentioned it was about the Irish famine in the 1800s, and said they were bringing a bit of their history and culture to the here and now. By all accounts I’ve seen, he does seem to think of Primordial‘s music as a sort of ambassadorship — they were very much representing the Republic of Ireland on stage — and though I wondered if maybe there was anyone in the audience who hadn’t already heard of the famine, the song left little to want. Averill had slowed some by then, less foot on the monitor, less back and forth from one end of the stage to the other, tossing around the mic stand, calling everyone present including the band lazy cunts, and so on, but revived with “Empire Falls,” letting adrenaline carry him through the end of the set as he got on his knees and shouted the chorus at the somewhat-dwindled but still strong crowd, who were only too glad to return the favor.
So the headliners were done, but the night still had its closing acts to go. Averill had plugged fellow Irishmen Mourning Beloveth‘s set at Het Patronaat a couple times, and former Hawkwind/Meads of Asphodel bassist Alan Davey was doing Space Ritualin full on the Main Stage, but what I really wanted to see was The Midnight Ghost Train, who were playing at Stage01, formerly known as the Bat Cave, the smallest of the three rooms at the 013. It was full by the time I walked over, and I probably could’ve stood there and gotten bumped into again, and again, and again, but after 16 or 17 times, I started to get claustrophobic and had to get out. Much to my surprise, the band followed not long behind me.
Guitarist/vocalist Steve Moss, drummer Brandon Burghart and yet another new bassist walked through the crowd and out of the room. From my spot in the back, I got to say hi to both, and Burghart explained they were doing a stagger-on, one member at a time. Moss had left his guitar feeding back, so there was a steady hum, and I suppose walking back through the audience (no backstage to come out from) there was something of a delay, so that went long, but once their crazed, blues-infused rock got going, the full room of people there to see them had no trouble getting on board for the wild shuffling riffs and Moss‘ throaty vocals. From Kansas to Roadburn. They’re always a lot of fun to watch, and in Tilburg was no exception.
I stayed and got bumped into a few more times and then decided to check out a couple minutes of The Psychedelic Warlords, who were just getting ready for launch at the time. Space rock, man. It sure is spacious. They pulled a good crowd as well of loyal lysergeons and Davey, along with a full lineup of keys, guitar, vocals, drums and sax, were in the process of giving Space Ritualits due. By that point, the “get back to the hotel and start writing” urge was coming on pretty strong, and I didn’t resist. Outside, people sat at the picnic tables (new this year) or ate grub from the outside food stand (also new this year and just closing as I walked by) and smoked whatever they may have felt like smoking. Needless to say, Weirdo Canyon was also abuzz.
Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham of Electric Wizard were also hanging around the 013 lobby. The band curated tomorrow’s lineup under the heading of “The Electric Acid Orgy,” which one can only imagine will leave but a modicum of survivors. Looking forward.
Extra pics after the jump and more to come tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
Posted in Features on August 31st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m not sure how long my laptop battery is going to last, or what I’m going to do when it dies, but the idea for tonight is to write as much as I can while I’m actually at the El ‘n’ Gee in New London for the second night of Stoner Hands of Doom XII. Tomorrow starts earlier, so I don’t know when else I’ll have time to write.
In other words, I basically said “Fuck it, I’ll do it live.”
What you see in the photo above is the view from the couch I’m sitting on in the corner of the bar area. There are no plugs in the walls save for one that’s otherwise occupied. Tonight’s lineup is seven bands, which is one more than yesterday. Connecticut natives When the Deadbolt Breaks are setting up their gear behind me on the stage, and they’ll be followed in turn by Wizard Eye from Philadelphia, Long Island’s own John Wilkes Booth, Massachusetts’ Faces of Bayon, CT’s Lord Fowl, Maryland doomers Revelation. Rhode Island upstarts Pilgrim will close out the night. They’re here already wandering around, as are the Wizard Eye dudes.
Gonna be a good time no matter what else goes down, I’ve got no doubt. It’s also fest organizer Rob Levey‘s birthday tonight, so to Rob, happy birthday from the couch.
Night two of SHoD XII gets underway in about an hour, give or take. I’ll hopefully have updates as we go along, added to this post.
When the Deadbolt Breaks
UPDATE 7:43PM: As ever, Connecticut natives When the Deadbolt Breaks dipped their audience in a distortion caked coating of the truly deranged. They’ve gotten a new bassist since I last saw them, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Lewis perpetually chasing a rhythm section that can keep pace with him, both in tempo and tone. And by “keep pace,” I mean play slow as fuck. Reportedly, the second platter of Deadbolt‘s forthcoming 2LP release is one 60-minute-long song. That’s probably a solid format for the band to work in, as Lewis‘ songs have always tended to wander into these sort of pits of ambient quicksand. When he spaces out thusly, the atmospherics are almost always hypnotic, such as 10 minutes ago, when John Wilkes Booth vocalist Kerry Merkle had to rouse me back to conscious before handing me a couple stickers. The crux of Deadbolt‘s approach though is playing those sections off the droning doom that follows and metering them with sections of mournful, Danzig-style clean singing. There still isn’t a subgenre designation for what they do, but maybe sooner or later someone will come up with something. In any case, with all the lights turned low and a projector going, they were a suitably menacing start to tonight’s diverse roster of acts.
UPDATE 8:41PM: Guitarist/vocalist Erik from Philly trio Wizard Eye looked the part of the wizard manning his theremin, his dreadlocks dragging on the floor of the stage behind him, impossibly long. Long like you think of roads as being long. The three-piece blended Weedeater sludge with Fu Manchu stonerisms, had some Sabbath in there of course, but did not short either on aggression. Erik does guest leads on the new Clamfight CD and he showed off a bit of that prowess as well, in between bursts of dual-vocals with bassist Dave while Scott slammed away behind. They’ve got a CD for sale that I’ll pick up before the night is through, I’ve no doubt. This despite the incense on the stage behind Erik, which has now made the front of the El ‘n’ Gee smell like a teenager’s bedroom. Part of the package, I guess, and if it’s to be a total sensory experience, I suppose I shouldn’t complain. They were — what’s the word again? — heavy. Some familiar elements, but put to good use, and the theremin went a long way in adding to the overall wash of noise. Stone and tone: It’s not exactly the new math when it comes to this kind of thing, but Wizard Eye did well with it. The balance of the vocal mics was a little off coming through the house, but I get the sense in a smaller room, they’d be absolutely crushing. Philly’s Kung Fu Necktie, perhaps, or some basement where the soundwaves have no place to go and no choice but to cleave your skull.
John Wilkes Booth
UPDATE 9:33PM: I’ve known these dudes for years. Played shows with them, seen them come into their own as a band. It’d been a while though, and in the interim, John Wilkes Booth — as bands will do — wrote a shitload of new material. Also, apparently at some point Kerry Merkle‘s megaphone had babies and grew an entire family of effects pedals for the vocalist. Well done, proud papa. It’s been over three years since they released their Sic Semper Tyrannisfull-length (review here), so maybe they’re due for a new record as well. In any case, their crunching ’90s riffs — not quite stoner, not quite noise, but definitely heavy and skirting the line between the two — did not fail to satisfy, and Merkle‘s effects added complexity to what, admittedly, I used to enjoy the rawness of, without necessarily distracting from what bassist Harry, drummer Christian and subdued guitarist Jason were doing. Solid heavy rock band, as ever, and it’ll be interesting to hear how the vocal extras factor into a new recording. Actually, I guess I’d just like to hear a new recording, however the pedals may or may not play into it. These guys pretty obviously just do it because they love to do it, and that’s always welcome on any stage I happen to be in front of.
Faces of Bayon
UPDATE 10:25PM: If the next wave of stuff people decide to give a shit about was to be doom riffing mixed with old school death metal, I’d be happy to watch Massachusetts’ own Faces of Bayon lead the charge. Before the set even started, the charm was evident, as guitarist/vocalist Matt Smith asked the crowd in a low growl if they liked stoner doom. Later, after his amp cut out in the middle of one of the tracks from their Heart of the Fire LP — which, pros to the last, bassist Ron Miles and drummer Mike Brown kept going — Smith apologized to the crowd with a simple, “Sorry,” before resuming his tale of the fall of Lucifer in a low, throaty whisper. No substitute for that kind of charm, and to go with it, Faces of Bayon were crushingly heavy, Miles playing a six-string in the deathly tradition. I don’t think the winds of trend will ever blow in their favor, but I also don’t think they give a shit. They closed with a new song from an upcoming album which Smith said would be recorded this fall, and I guess someone needs to tell these dudes Labor Day’s on Monday so they can get on it. That last album got a huge response, so I’ll look forward to seeing how the next one comes out. If their closer was anything to go by, you can bet on slow, heavy and evil, with more than just a dash of stoner.
UPDATE 11:11PM: Double kudos to Connecticut’s Lord Fowl for not only rocking the house, but for rocking the house after the ultra-doom bestowed upon it by Faces of Bayon. I had wondered how the transition would go from Faces of Bayon‘s downer moodiness and morose heavy to Lord Fowl‘s upbeat arena-ready hooks, but the latter more than pulled it off. Their record, being the last one I reviewed before leaving to come up here on Thursday, was still pretty fresh in my head, but even those who didn’t know the songs were hooked by the time the four-piece were through album and set opener “Moon Queen” and its follow-up “Touch that Groove.” Another transition straight off the Moon Queen album that worked really well was “Streets of Evermore” into “Dirty Driving,” guitarist/vocalists Vechel Jaynes and Mike Pellegrino trading off lead spots in the process. I don’t know how much of the audience knew the songs going into the set, but Lord Fowl’s brand of rock is basically undeniable if you’ve ever had a ’70s chorus stuck in your head. They were unafraid to smile on stage, and everywhere they went, they made sure the crowd came with them. It was a lot of fun, and I still think there’s a lot more potential to them even than they showed tonight, though they showed plenty.
UPDATE 12:17AM: Of the handful of times I’ve seen Maryland doom stalwarts Revelation, this was easily the best. If you want to think of this weekend as one huge tone-off, then John Brenner and Bert Hall are the dudes who sneak in just at the last minute totally unsuspecting and walk away with the prize. They didn’t play anything new — as Brenner said on stage, they don’t know the songs — but their set was tighter and more energetic than I’ve ever seen from them. They weren’t jumping around the stage by any means, not thrashing about, but they delivered all the same. Brenner’s Laney sounded gorgeous, Hall played a bass that had an axe built into the body — one assumes it’s in case he has to chop wood in the middle of the set — and drummer Steve Branagan held down both quiet and loud with ease. Like several of the acts tonight – When the Deadbolt Breaks, John Wilkes Booth, Faces of Bayon – they’ve got new material in the works (as a recent audio stream will attest), but as the penultimate band of the night, they did well bridging a sizable gap in modus between Lord Fowl and Pilgrim still to come. The room has mostly cleared out and it’s getting late, but the people still here are glad to be, alternating between partying outside in the fenced patio area of the El ‘n’ Gee and just getting drunk(er) at the bar. Either way.
UPDATE 1:14AM: That picture above of Pilgrim was taken before the show started. Much to the credit of the hot-as-hell Rhode Island trio, they were here the whole show, and didn’t leave so far as I know as so many who played did. Maybe they went and got a bite to eat or something like that — to be fair, I wasn’t keeping tabs on them all night. Before their set started, they asked specifically to play in the dark, and the request was granted, so I was doubly glad to have snapped a few shots outside of them on the couch outside on the sidewalk. They’re the first band to play this fest that everyone in the place went right to the front of the stage to see. I stood back, and I think doing so helped me to see what it is about them that has the hype rolling so hard. To share: They’re young, and they’re frighteningly cohesive. They play off familiar elements — slow riffs, emotional anguish — but do so with strong performances and an air of sincerity. If you wanted to paint a picture of an exciting young act in the genre, that picture would probably look a lot like Pilgrim, and whatever excitement they have around them, they do well to justify it with the promise they show both on stage and in their recorded work. They were a great cap for the night and had a tremendous response. No complaints from my end. The only x-factor is if they can keep it together, but pending that, they’re most definitely on the right track. If nothing else, they’ve proven they’re a band worth pulling for.
UPDATE 2:25AM: Blue moon indeed. It’s full and up there and hard to argue with, and I’m down by the shoreline of the Long Island Sound outside with the laptop and I’m tired but things have been far worse. The trip back from New London to here was uneventful, at least in comparison to the evening preceding. Tomorrow I’m going to have to figure out a way to see every band play and also provide myself with some basic kind of nutrition. There’s a grease truck in the public parking lot across the street from the El ‘n’ Gee. The last two nights in a row I’ve been tempted to get a cheeseburger for the ride and both times I’ve chickened out and just gotten a bottle of water. Maybe tomorrow will be my day.
Akris are slated to open the gig at noon. I doubt they’ll actually start on time, but that’s what’s slated to go down, so I’m going to try to be there before then. I’ll crash out in a couple minutes, but not just yet.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
The good news continues to pour in from the Netherlands. This time, it’s hotter-than-hell Rhode Island youngins Pilgrim added to the Roadburn bill. They’ll be at SHoD this weekend as well, so maybe I’ll just have to say congrats to The Wizard in person. Way to go, gents.
Rhode Island’s Doom Disciples Pilgrim To Bring Misery To Roadburn 2013
We’re excited to announce that Pilgrim will be appearing at Roadburn Festival 2013 on Thursday, April 18th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.
Remember the time when the great bands of the Seventies—Wishbone Ash, Rainbow and Led Zeppelin, to name but a few—wrote their tunes around mythical stories involving swords, sorcery and magic? For those of us who are hungry for epic music that tells of majestic tales, look for the Misery Wizard (Metal Blade), the debut long-player from Rhode Island’s disciples of doom, Pilgrim!
The trio of drummer Krolg, the Slayer of Man, bassist the Soothsayer and guitarist / singer the Wizard combine the chest-caving sounds of Pentagram and the mountain-moving tempos of Reverend Bizarre and tie it all together under the spiritual guidance of the grand masters of doom, Black Sabbath. Deep within the thick sonic walls, listeners can hear the Wizard tell tales about ancient beings from the sky, timeless heroes and the eponymous Misery Wizard.
Gather ‘round at the 2013 Roadburn Festival and be immersed in the power and might of Pilgrim and the Misery Wizard!
Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.
Posted in Reviews on June 11th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was kind of a weird plan, but because I was going to be driving to meet The Patient Mrs. in Connecticut after the show, and because I was going to the show right from work, I wound up bringing my dog and leaving her in the car while I went and saw Witch Mountain, Lord Dying, Pilgrim and Bezoar at the Saint Vitus bar in Brooklyn. I kind of felt like a bad dog owner, but I’d just bought her a new bed, I left her a full bowl of cold water, rolled the windows partway down and I’d waited until the sun was down so she wouldn’t be hot in the car. She slept the whole time, and I made periodic between-band visits to take her for walks around the block. Turned out to not be a problem.
Better, by waiting for the sun to go down so as to not bake my dog, I avoided the trap of arriving way too early as I had for the Pallbearer and Loss show a few weeks back and got there just as Bezoar were taking the stage. Everybody wins! The opening act and local to Brooklyn, they were celebrating the release of their full-length debut,Wyt Deth, and played the album through front to back, drummer Justin Sherrell picking up and putting down an acoustic guitar to play up the menacing dark folk aspect of their otherwise noisy and doomed approach. Like a lot of the psychedelic doom making its way out these days, there was some level of influence from Electric Wizard‘s latter-day output, but Bezoar had more going on than riffs and horror-movie lyricism.
Vocalist/bassist Sara Villard rested comfortably in her middle range, and both she and guitarist Tyler Villard were quick to lapse into washes of beastly noise and feedback, Sherrell following suit with adept fills and tom runs. They didn’t leave a landmark impression, being somewhat reserved on stage apart from Sherrell, but the music was solid and the performance effective nonetheless. Brooklyn’s scene continues to grow, and if Bezoar are going to join the ranks of quality acts from that hyper-gentrified corner of the world — there’s a list of them at this point, which I’ll spare — I’ll offer no contradiction. As I hadn’t yet heard Wyt Deth, they made a decent first impression.
A quick pop back to the car to check on the dog and I was back well in time for the start of Pilgrim‘s set. A bigger band who’ve had success in Brooklyn in the past, though they’re younger, they probably could’ve demanded a better spot on the bill than they got if they felt like being jerks — I’d figured the Providence natives for either closing out the night or playing between Lord Dying and Witch Mountain — but it’s to their credit that Lord Dying had the more preferable slot, being a part of the tour that made the show happen in the first place. They were palpably a stronger live act than the last time I saw them (see above link), and in particular, guitarist Jon “The Wizard” Rossi seemed more comfortable on stage and showed more personality behind his thoroughly downtrodden and doomed vocal delivery.
I think a lot of the excitement about Pilgrim — aside from their debut, Misery Wizard, having been issued through Alan Averill of Primordial‘s Metal Blade imprint — comes from the band’s potential to carry traditional doom forward into a new, post-millennial generation, invariably bringing some new sensibility to the style. How that’s going to work out in the longer term, I haven’t the foggiest, but Pilgrim at this point are a good, young, heavy band, and I’m not going to take that away from them just because there’s hype around their record. They still have growing to do, but again, it’s been about three months since the last time I saw them (I’ll see them again as they headline SHoD over Labor Day weekend), and there was already marked improvement, so they’re growing fast. Hard not to root for an act like that, which I guess is at least part of where that hype comes from.
Lord Dying were easily the most metal band of the night and a fitting complement to Witch Mountain in how different they were. A double-guitar four-piece, their set was thrash-informed traditional metal bombast. Riffs factored in heavily, but they weren’t really stoner or doom, just heavy and straightforward and mean sounding. I liked them immediately and didn’t stop liking them as the set played out. They’d sold out their CDs, or I would’ve bought one afterwards and rocked it on my way north on I-95. Can’t do that with a 7″. Too bad.
As infectious as their slowed-down thrashing was, though, it hit just as my guilt pangs at having left my poor little dog in the car were approaching critical mass. I left the club momentarily to take the dog for a walk around the block and at least let her move around a little bit, as she’d been in the car at this point for two-plus hours. She was fine — she has always seemed to prefer being left in the car somewhere to being left at home, when it comes down to one or the other — but still, with another two-hour drive after the show, it seemed only fair to leave Lord Dying to their ass-kicking for a bit and let the dog pee. She seemed to appreciate it, even if she did almost get in a brawl with a much-bigger bulldog mix coming down the block the other way. She’s a countrified dog. No class in the big city.
When I got back inside, Lord Dying were done and Witch Mountain were getting set up. I didn’t have the courage to introduce myself to guitarist Rob Wrong, whose concise opinions once provided the central critical voice of StonerRock.com, but his red rocker pants and matching guitar — with a green plate to play up the holiday spirit — were a suitable extension of the personality I’ve always admired in his writing. As Witch Mountain got set up, new bassist Neal Munson seemed to have some technical problems, but by the time the set started, everything was worked out. Wrong led the doomly charge with waves of riffs — he’d turned down the opportunity to run his cabinets through the P.A., saying it was unnecessary, he’d be plenty loud anyway — as bluesy and trained-sounding vocalist Uta Plotkin proved the performance on last year’s South of Salem was no fluke. If anything, she sounded better live than in the studio, and as powerful as she was on the record, that’s saying something.
Being so very, very behind on reviews, I hadn’t yet really had the appropriate chance to dig into the new and third Witch Mountain album, Cauldron of the Wild — also their Profound Lore debut — but “Beekeeper” was an early set highlight and drummer Nate Carson (a founder of the band along with Wrong and also of Nanotear Booking) crashed through lumbering pacing that gave Plotkin more than enough room to soar vocally, which indeed, she did. Despite my lacking familiarity with the material, though, Witch Mountain were engaging and came off as tight as a band should be who’ve already been on tour the better part of a week, cracking a smile at a flub here and there but pressing on with the song all the same. They were heavier tonally in person, and it’s not often I’d refer to a band’s melodicism as “sick,” but seriously, these were some sick melodies.
It got to be past midnight and I knew I’d be on the road until around 2AM, so I made my way out and back to the car, where I fired up the directional robutt and followed its satellite course on more highway interchanges than I credited Brooklyn with having before finally stumbling on I-95 and defying the navigational system by taking it, knowing it was ultimately where I wanted to end up anyhow. Sure enough, I arrived at the Connecticut shoreline to find The Patient Mrs. already asleep, which the little dog soon would be as well. I stayed up a while longer to key down and finally called it a night going on three, promising myself I’d sleep late while knowing it wasn’t true.
Posted in Reviews on March 3rd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last night, New York was an embarrassment of riches. Not just in the usual hedge-fund manager kind of way, either. The semi-reunited Van Halen was at the Garden (not my thing, but apparently enough people’s thing to sell out an arena), and C.O.C. and Torche were further downtown with Valient Thorr and A Storm of Light, and Windhand, Pilgrim and Magic Circle were in Brooklyn with hometown metallers Natur closing out the night at Public Assembly. I know I bitch a lot about the city — and with good reason — but this stuff doesn’t happen everywhere.
It was C.O.C.‘s first tour after the release of their new album, putting them to the task of convincing their audience they can still bring it live, but I saw them on New Year’s, so I was already well convinced. I wanted to see Windhand again after catching them at SHoD last year and continuing to enjoy their 2011 self-titled, and I’d never seen Pilgrim or Magic Circle, so the choice seemed plain. Not only that, but I figured that with so much else going on, there was a chance it would be like doom shows in New York used to be before everyone, you know, gave a shit.
Wrong-o on that one. Public Assembly was packed from the time I walked in (following a quick sojourn at the Academy Records Annex down the block) and only got more so as the night wore on. I was there well in time to catch the start of Magic Circle‘s set, and recalled the band’s name from the fact that they’ll be sharing the stage with Saint Vitus, Church of Misery and Kings Destroy at Chaos in Tejas in Austin, TX, come June. It was something of a surprise then when frontman Brendan Radigan, also of Boston hardcore outfit The Rival Mob (also Mind Eraser), announced that it was their first show.
They were pretty doomed out, and I marked that as a win. Radigan‘s stage moves, full of twisting arms, orchestra-conductor hands, rolled-back eyes and sundry torso contortions, added to the eerie feel of the double-guitars, and they were tighter than one might expect for not having played live before. If they’d had a CD for sale, I would’ve bought it, but the set had to suffice on its own, and it managed to do just that. There seemed to be a pretty decent age differential among band members, but whichever side of the stage you looked at, the band functioned well, had a couple choice song titles and some noteworthy banter through the mic. A bit of old-school metal chugging toward the end endeared them to denim/leather and flannel alike.
I’d had my customary three beers by the time they were finished, downing the last of the last as I stood along the back wall and watched them wrap the set, but being there by myself and it being more crowded than I initially thought meant that pretty much went out the window. Call it “extenuating circumstances” if you want, but I’d had a fourth before Pilgrim got going; the youngster doomers down from Providence, Rhode Island recently released their Misery Wizard full-length debut on Primordial frontman Alan Averill‘s Poison Tongue (run through Metal Blade), and as the zip file has been on my desktop waiting for review for the last month, they were a bit of a curio.
My initial impression from hearing their recorded stuff was they sounded like The Gates of Slumber sounding like Saint Vitus, and I kind of expected the live show to follow suit, but they were more characteristically individual on stage. They are young, though. Really young. I mean, I know I’m getting older, but even if I saw Pilgrim five years ago and they were the same age they were last night, they’d still look like kids. Now that I write it, I’m not sure who that says more about, but screw it, there it is.
For what it’s worth, their sound reflected their youth, both in that it felt like they were at the beginning stages of a longer developmental process and that they were able to energetically play songs about wizards and sword-fighting without coming off as insincere. Their guitarist/vocalist, who by no coincidence goes by the moniker The Wizard, did indeed channel his inner Karl Simon as we all must from time to time, but his misery felt genuine enough to carry it across, and shirtless bassist Count Elric the Soothsayer and drummer Krolg, Slayer of Men (who played mostly hidden behind the bulk of his kit — doubtless stealth is one of his slaying tactics), did well locking down the slower grooves in the rhythm section. Pilgrim were fun. No complaints.
They were selling their record, both the jewel case and digipak versions, as well as posters and shirts and whatever else. I bought the jewel case — they’re a dying breed and built to last — and, while I was there, grabbed Windhand‘s CD as well, keeping just enough cash left over for one last beer as they were setting up. Public Assembly had already hit the point where it was hard to move, so I situated myself up front and waited for the ethereal Virginian doomers to commence peddling their cultish wares, expecting much fuckedupness to ensue shortly.
Probably true, I should’ve learned my lesson about the accuracy of my expectations the second I walked in the door at the venue, but clearly I hadn’t. Before Windhand even got through their first song, guitarist Asechiah Bogdan (whose name beats Pilgrim‘s members outright, and is probably real) blew out his amp. They played the first song as a four-piece, and did it pretty well, considering, but cut off before the second got going and took what wound up being a long break while dealing with the technical problems. Happens to everybody sooner or later.
Could’ve easily been worse. The house music never came back on, if that tells you anything. Windhand eventually got going again, Bogdan joining fellow guitarist Garrett Morris and bassist Nathan Hilbish for a thoroughly satisfying wave of doomly fuzz that wholly justified both the trip in and the wait for sorting out equipment troubles. Drummer Ryan Wolfe (ex-Facedowninshit, current-The Might Could) was dead on, and vocalist Dorthia Cottrell managed the difficult task of steering the band back on track quickly and efficiently. At one point — I think it was during “Winter Sun,” the closer from the album and the highlight of their set — she seemed fully locked into the undulations of the riff, shifting forward and back in a way that was both hypnotic and really hard to capture with a camera for someone who, let’s say, has only the most basic awareness of how one works. Just an example.
But if 200 completely unusable shots were the outcome of watching Windhand play, they were more than eclipsed by the force with which they doom. Perhaps it was the realism of technical difficulties, but their perceptible cultish leanings in the recorded material took a backseat at Public Assembly to the sheer weight of the songs themselves which, either as the foursome or with Bogdan plugged in and ready to go, came across undeniably well. I was already intrigued to find out where their next record would take them, but having seen their presence fill out as it has even since their appearance at SHoD, they could easily morph into a wholly distinct outfit of marked potency. The potential is there, is what I’m saying.
Similar things have been said about Natur (who are not to be confused with Stevie Floyd from Dark Castle‘s solo-project of the sane name), but it was getting on midnight and I had work this morning, which, coupled with the band’s locality, was enough for me to justify skipping out. Won’t do much for my Brooklyn cred, but I live in Jersey, so Brooklyn cred was a pipedream anyway — just ask the publicists who don’t return my emails. My thinking was we’ll run into each other sooner or later, and hopefully that’s true as well of Magic Circle, Pilgrim and Windhand, since it seemed to be that each had showed some measure of potential do contribute something unique to the genre — and mostly in different ways — while also happening to kick some ass in the meantime. As I rolled back into my humble river valley at around 1AM and put a pillow over my head to call it a night, my lips couldn’t help but curl in a smile at the payoff of my doomed gluttony.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m already tapped for three shows this weekend (and I’m what’s the word, oh yeah: old), but I might have to hit up Brooklyn‘s Saint Vitus Bar next Thursday too to catch Rhode Island doomers Pilgrim as they play their forthcoming Misery Wizard album in its entirety. The band are signed to Primordial frontman Alan Averill‘s Metal Blade imprint, Poison Tongue Records, and have more in common with The Gates of Slumber than just the one dude’s skullet. Plus, Dutchguts are always fun.
Here’s the news:
The latest addition to the MetalBlade roster via AlanNemtheanga‘s imprint, PoisonTongueRecords, is RhodeIsland‘s Pilgrim. The doom trio, which consists of: Krolg Splinterfist, Slayer of Men on drums, Count Elric the Soothsayer on bass guitar and The Wizard on guitar and vocals, will be performing their first ever headlining show next week in NewYork. The show will be at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn with Salo, Dutchguts and The Year is One. Doors are at 7:30pm and tickets are $8.
Pilgrim’s debut album, Misery Wizard, will be available on February 14 in North America and January 30 in Europe. Fans that attend the SaintVitusBar show will hear the band perform the album in its entirety! If you’re in the NYC area, don’t miss out!
Pilgrim with Salo, Dutchguts, The Year is One 12/15 Brooklyn, NYSaint Vitus Bar